Figs: a great option for athletes
Figs are not widely consumed, even though they are very sweet and tasty. Besides being delicious, figs are highly nutritious. The list of its benefits is long, especially for athletes.
The origins of this fruit are not completely clear. Some researchers place central Asia as its place of origin; others locate it more to the west in present-day Turkey. Something that they do know is that its use was extended throughout the Mediterranean.
From 9.000 A.C, humans already cultivated figs. Later, in Ancient Greece, figs were given to Olympic athletes as training food.
Some people might think twice about including figs in their diets since figs are a high-calorie fruit. Nevertheless, if you eat fresh figs, they barely contain more calories than an apple.
Fresh or dried?
If you take a fig directly from the tree, you will have fruit with a very soft peal, sweet pulp, crunchy seeds, and a fragrant smell. Figs contain 80 percent water and around 65 to 74 Kcal per 100 grams.
Dried figs go through a dehydration process lowering their water content to 30 percent. This is achieved after smashing the fruit and then storing it in drying rooms, similar to the rooms where raisins are stored. Dried figs have an increased energetic value.
Much more than just energy
Energy is a key factor in maintaining and increasing your endurance. But, there are many more reasons to include fresh or dried figs in your diet.
Figs are rich in calcium – 35mg /100 grams of fresh figs and 162 mg/100 grams of dried figs. Calcium is vital for the health and development of your muscles and bones. There isn’t any other fruit that contains this level of calcium.
For that reason, eating figs is highly beneficial for preventing injuries or fractures. They’re also helpful during recovery or rehabilitation of an injury.
Besides calcium, figs also contain other important minerals such as magnesium. Fresh figs have 17 mg and dried figs have 68 mg of magnesium for every 100 grams of fruit. Magnesium is essential for your body because it helps it absorb calcium.
Other minerals found in figs are phosphorus, iron, potassium, sodium, zinc and manganese. An adult person can enjoy 26 percent of the daily recommended amount of manganese for every 100 grams of figs. This fruit also contains vitamins C and K and many others from the vitamin B group.
Figs help you stay healthy
On top of everything that we have told you so far, figs are also rich in antioxidants, which help minimize the effect of free radicals.
Figs also have anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it ideal to alleviate pain and recover from muscular fatigue after a competition or intense workout.
The fig’s benefits are not only for your muscles or bones. Eating figs is also beneficial for your skin, thanks to the psoralen in them. Psoralen is an element used in the treatment of eczema and psoriasis.
Figs are rich in beta-carotene, helpful for eye health. They also contribute to fiber, which is helpful for digestion and intestinal transit, making figs a great ally to avoid constipation.
Eating figs will help to regulate cholesterol levels, blood pressure and can improve blood circulation. People who follow a weight-loss diet might hesitate to include figs in their meal plan because they are a high-calorie fruit. But, figs have a good satiating capacity, which balances this fact.
How to include figs in your recipes
Dried figs are an excellent snack option for between meals or after your workout. Whether you prefer to eat them fresh or dried, figs will bring great benefits to your health.